A white light bulb on a sky blue background with a wire attached

What is a Light Bulb’s CRI and Why Does it Matter?

It’s More Than Just Brightness

When you flip on any light in your home, what do you notice? Do things brighten up? (Probably.) But what do the elements of your space look like? Clear? Dull? Colorful? All of these characteristics are primarily dependent on a light’s CRI.

What is CRI?

CRI stands for Color-Rendering Index, a measurement of a light’s ability to bring out the colors in an immediate area. For example, does the light in your living room show the color pattern on your couch or the true color of wall paint? If these elements looked different in the store versus your home, it might be due to the lighting.

CRI is measured on a 100 point scale, with 100 being the highest and 0 being the lowest. Of course, perfect CRI is not always necessary, but it is in certain situations, like a photo studio or art gallery. But at home, a bad CRI will impact the way your space looks and the way you feel while you’re in it.

CRI compares an artificial light source (light bulbs) with natural light (the sun). The closer the light reflects the quality of natural light, the higher its index.

Note: CRI is not color temperature (cool vs. warm). Light temperature and CRI are not influenced by one another.

Why Does CRI Matter?

Have you ever designed something on the computer, printed it out, and the color looks totally different? That’s what happens in poor CRI light situations. There’s a reason retail stores have so much intense light. They want you to see things clearly and vibrantly. But you probably don’t have that same environment at home.

Improving your CRI will help “brighten” up space by illuminating colors. With a higher CRI, you’d be getting the same color paint you picked out in the store or all the nuances of a particular piece of art. Not to mention, it also makes people stand out more, so you can be more comfortable having guests over.

CRI becomes even more crucial when your hobby or job depends on proper lighting. For anyone working in art, drawing, architecture, design, and other visually-focused areas, accurate color couldn’t be more important.

Your Lighting Resource

As one of Utah’s most-trusted electricians, HedgeHog Electric is here to help you with all your lighting needs. Contact us today at (866) 605-2113 to set up an appointment with our qualified team.

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